My Nitrite Level Is Through The Roof And I Can't Seem To Keep It Down With 50% Water Change!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Ledii, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. LediiNew MemberMember

    Hey, I recently aquired a 60L (16G) aquarium.
    I ran the startup cycle for one week, then did some water measurements.
    pH: 7
    NO2: 0.05 ppm

    I went to the store and bought myself 2 sets of Guppy. (2 male, 6 female)
    After another week passed by several of them started having babies.
    So I decided to do another test since I've heard adding fish may spike it...
    This time it showed NO2 level of 0.6 ppm. And my local fishstore adviced me to do waterchanges every day. So, I did... 50% for a week now. It has gone down bit by bit, but it stopped at 0.4 ppm now. And it doesn't seem to change any more.

    I left it at 0.4 overnight to see if it would stay there, but surely enought it's up at 0.8 today!
    I must mention there is probably like at least 30-40 babies in there at this point.
    And the plants are growing in hyperspeed, but that is because they use nitrite as fuel and convert it to nitrate, right? Or did I understand the cycle incorrectly?

    Any suggestions?

    Oh! Forgot to mention, I have only fed them once every third day after I started doing the water changes.
    And I can't really tell of there is any odd behaviours yet, they seem to be acting normal. No, gasping for air, they are chasing / play / breeding with eachother...

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2017
  2. _IceFyre_Well Known MemberMember

    Do you have a filter?
    Your tank is not cycled, plants do not help in the cycling process unfortunately.
  3. andychrissytankValued MemberMember

    plants like nitrates and ammonia, not so much nitrites
    your guppies will produce ammonia, and the plants will take some and your bacteria will take the rest and make nitrites, the bacteria come back for dessert and turn it into nitrates
    nitrates are stuck, they can't be converted anymore because the bacteria that does that does not like air, but the plants will gladly assimilate it. they convert the nitrates to molecules like amino acids
    you probably should have cycled it longer, but the problem seems to be the over population because all ~30-40 of them are creating waste, though I gotta say you're lucky because usually many are eaten by the adults right away especially with limited hiding spots
    you will need another tank or a friend or something you can give the extra guppies too
    maybe you can try to get more plants, rehome some of the guppies, and keep changing the water
  4. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Ok, so the spike is most likely coming from an uncycled tank, not from the fry. Tanks typically take three to six weeks to properly cycle.

    A 50% water change will reduce your nitrites by 50%. So if you are at 8, a 50% change will take it to 4, another 50% to 2, another 50% to 1, and so on. These changes would have to be done back to back or new nitrites would start to accumulate.

    As of now you are officially doing a "fish in" cycle. First thing is to do back to back water changes (at this point I would start w 75% first, then an hr later is not lower then .5 (is should be back to around .2) I would do another 50%.
    Also dose prime for the volume of the tank, it will help reduce nitrite poisoning, and pick up some bottled bacteria, aquavitro seed, seachem stability, and dr. Tims one and only are the best choices out there. It will give your bacteria a boost.
    Keep the nitrite levels below 1, when they climb higher do another water change. Continue to dose tank with prime for entire tank volume every 24hrs.
    Reason to do a water change now is that if you have reached .8 you will be above 1 important the am...

    Also, what test kit are you using? The API master kit is great, but the values are .25, .5, 1, 2, etc.... the values I use above are based on the API kit
  5. BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    As far as I know plants prefer ammonia and ammonium rather than nitrites or nitrates. In fact when they take up nitrates they must first conver it to ammonia.
    Again, that is my understanding.
    Anyways, plants will not eat all fish waste, you would have to severely plant the tank (yours is almost nude if you want plants to filter) and understock your tank too which would mean no male and female guppies as you would get full of babies.
    Live bearers are like pests, I will always advise people to keep sexes appart, having baby fish sounds nice but it isnt so nice when you have no store to sell them too, the babies are growing and overstocking your tank.

    I agree with other members here. Do the fish in cycle as they tell you with prime.
  6. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Well said on the guppies, I have two 40g, three 20l, and two tens all devoted to guppies and their fry. I have since separated those I am not breeding, a lot I trade in to my lfs. Happily I love plants as well so as my plant and guppy pop Italian grew I got a new tank :) finally at my max :)
  7. LediiNew MemberMember

    I will continue water changes, but my local fishstore adviced me not to do it more often than once a day. But by then it has almost undone all the work.
    Is it safer for the fish to just replace multiple times a day rather than leaving them in the nitrites?

    Yes, I do have a filter. Not a "proper" one. But one of those Jewel two in one filter and heater things...

    The test I use for NO2 is from the local fish store, i take 5ml water and add 5 drops of two different formulas to it, and see a color change.

    The fry has lots of hiding spots but they don't really seem to need them after if they are not eaten within a day. They outrun their parents.

    Might get a second tank to help balance things out in the beginning.
    Summary: So I'm looking at 1-3 weeks of waterchanges every day with the first day or two being more aggressive and frequent
  8. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Summary is correct :)

    Again, a lot of what I had said depends on your numbers, and the API test has different ranges them yours (for example no .8, only has .5 to 1).

    Basically you want to keep your nitrites below 1 with fish in tank, and dose prime for the tank volume daily. As long as your water change is keeping you at about .5 you should be fine.
    The problem is that in order for your biological filter to establish nitrites have to be present but if nitrites go above 1 your fish won't do ok :(.

    Normally in a tank with no fish levels are allowed to climb to 2-4, after 4 the cycle stalls out and a water change is needed to keep things going. Too many water changes and too low a level there is nothing present for bacteria to develop. With fish though they likely wouldn't survive levels that high.

    Right now you are at the start of your nitrite spike, they can climb quickly. Just keep an eye on the tank.
    Also, make sure there is plenty of aeration (hob splashing is fine, can also add an airstone if you want)

    Beautiful tank btw :)
  9. LediiNew MemberMember

    Alright, I will catch my local fish store today and see if I can find some prime. The selection of aquarium gear in Norway is rather lozy compared to what I've seen people have access to in YouTube videos.

    Thanks, its a aquascape inspired by multiple YouTube videos. Primarily this one:

    I very much love the contrast between the green bed, the Dragon Stone (rocks) and the sand. I can post more pictures when I get back home if you're intrested. (The one I posted here is actaully from the second day)
  10. Jamieson22Well Known MemberMember

    Have you tested the water you use to refill tank?
  11. LediiNew MemberMember

    Yes, it shows 0.01 or basicly not mesurable amounts on my test.
  12. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Hi, I would also get the tests for pH, ammonia and nitrates as those are just as important in monitoring your levels and knowing when you are fully cycled.

    You also may not want to hear this but I would take back the females and fry to the store as the females will keep having babies and it will make cycling that much more difficult. You'd also easily overstock your tank.

    I also wouldn't listen to the advice of the store. Water changes are necessary when you have fish in the tank or else the levels that rise will become toxic to them.
  13. LediiNew MemberMember

    I have kind of gotten the wibe from norwegian fish keepers in general that, allthough some care more than others...
    None are invested enough to actually research what to do. Everyone just, does what others tell them.
    And the original knowledge get every so slightly weakend as it is passed from person to person.

    I have decided on getting another tank ready. I have found a spot in my room where i can possibly fit it.
    Also thinking about getting a more dedicated filter, with actual media, rather than just sponges...

    Progress: Did a 75% water change today. And added 500l worth of bacteria to help speed up the inhabitance process.
    Hopefully looking at more promicing results by this weekend.
  14. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    I'd still get the full test kit to measure the levels mentioned previously. A cycled tank should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and some nitrates.
  15. LediiNew MemberMember

    What test kit are you speaking of, as mentioned my selection of available goods is not "sufficient" for my liking.
    I could maybe get something off of ebay / amazon if it's nessesary, but I feel like I have the tools i need for now.
    Just the matter of execution that is at hand.
  16. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    I believe it was mentioned previously but the API Freshwater Master Test Kit is a popular one to have as it's pretty accurate, tests for pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and lasts you a really long time. You should be able to buy the kit off amazon. The nitrite test alone is not sufficient to know what's going on with the water in your tank.
  17. XanderWell Known MemberMember

    As el33t says. If you cannot measure for ammonia and nitrate, then you most certainly do not have all the tools you need. Knowing all three levels (ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate) is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE to knowing for certain whether or not your fish are in danger due to a lack of cycle. And to be able to measure your pH is highly important, as well.
  18. LediiNew MemberMember

    Update: The bacteria seems to be doing it's job. Went from 0.4 to 0.2 in a day.
    Getting back into safer terretory now. But I'll be on alert til I see it land at less than 0.1 for a while.

    Thanks for the help and suggestions! =)